Wednesday 16 December 2009

Just Like Being There...

Here are some videos from the Aboyne games.  Some of them are short;  some aren't.  Feel free to pick and choose what you want to see, and I won't be offended if you don't watch them all, or all of them.  And I apologise for some of them being sideways... I don't know how to fix that. 

It's almost as good as having been there.... =D

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Oh, Boy! Aboyne!

Have I mentioned lately that I hate the new Blogger's photo uploader thingy?   That's completely off topic, but I'm annoyed.  Anyway.  On to the fun. 

About forever ago now, I finally got to my first Highland Games.  My friends from church, Bob and Anne Kelley, offered to take three of us American girls out to Aboyne for the best of the summer Highland Games.  Paige, Rebekah and I jumped at the chance!  The Kelleys have been really good to me that way-- taking me to cultural things, giving me extra tickets to great local shows, inviting me over for delicious holiday (and no special reason) meals.  They are great, and this was just the latest in my list of things I wouldn't have been able to do without their help. 

Aboyne is on Deeside, about an hour or so from Aberdeen.  It's a cute little village, but I think it's largely the Highland Games that really put it on the map.  Oh man!  Or should I say, Oh Men!  ;) 
Those guys above?  The ones in kilts with big muscles?  They are the competitors in the heavy events.  Things like the hammer toss and heavy hammer, throwing big weights over high bars, and tossing the caber.  They were very fun to watch, and we got great 'seats'.  We were right up by the fence, with nothing between us and them.  Paige is going to compete next year.  =)

 I love how it takes three men to lift and carry the caber to the one guy who will hoist and run with and toss it end over end...
 I had no idea tug-o'-war could be so serious!  These teams were incredible.  They all had their own caller to spur them on and chew them out.  It was quite the event. =)

In addition to the strong men, there was also Highland dancing.  It took place on a stage a little way from us, and consisted of all ages of boys and girls, in several different types of dance.  I loved watching it, and would love to learn the dances some time. 
 And then there were pipers... for the dancing, competing, and parading.  We even got the Gordon Highlanders, with members of the unit from around the world!  It was pretty amazing.  The drum majors from the various bands had a competition all their own, as well.  The had to march, in time to the piping and drumming, up to a high bar... throw their baton fancily over the top... and catch it on the other side, never breaking time.  It was fun to watch the fancy tosses.  I'll post some video tomorrow. 
 Finally, just a few shots of the grounds.  We had spotty weather-- it was chilly and rained on and off.  But overall, it was a great day.  I wouldn't have traided it for a perfect day doing nothing.  If you are ever in Scotland in the summer, I definitely recommend taking in a day of Highland Games, and the Aboyne games, if you can! 

Monday 7 December 2009


It took nearly five years, but I finally got on with an NHS dentist in Aberdeen.  Most of the dentistries here have gone private, because they didn't like being restricted in what they could offer to patients (and they wanted more money, I assume).  The building above is where my dentist is, and they do both NHS and private service.  So I suppose if I don't like the options I get as an NHS patient, I can opt to pay for something else.  Yeah, right.  =D

This dentrist is in the converted Grandholme Mills.  These originally were linen mills, but were bought by the Crombie family (whose cloth is famous. You've probably heard of it.  They even supplied the Rebel greycoats.  I knew I belonged in Aberdeen!).  Crombie has now moved their production to Leeds, but the mill has been refashioned into trendy flats, restaurants, a dentistry, and I'm not sure what else.  It's pretty cool.  I'd live there. 

Except that it's not very easy to get to.  It's in the Bridge of Don, so over the river and through the woods, literally.  I take the bus part of the way, and then have to walk 15 minutes or so along the river, past woods and open fields.  It's lovely when the weather's nice.  I can't wait to see what it's like when the weather's bad.  The walk is completely downhill on the way there, and uphill all the way back.  Brilliant!  *sigh*  At least it's basically free....

Anyway.  I finally got in for my first initial assessment.  I had been told in Seattle a few years ago that I would need a root canal.  I've been waiting til I got on with a dentist, of course.  But they took x-rays and all that, and nothing showing up.  Nothing.  They did a quick clean and sent me on my way, with my perfect pearly whites.  Okay, so they aren't exactly white... but I'm not about to give up coffee, or red wine!  =D

Sunday 6 December 2009

Best. Night. EVER!

Okay.  So perhaps that is an exaggeration.  But I would definitely class it in the Top Five.
U2.  Croke Park.  25 July 2009.

Oh, baby.

Words just do not do justice to this night.  Seriously.  It. Was. Awesome!

We had tickets on the pitch, and got there fairly early.  After a long hunt (back, and forth, and around and around) to buy t-shirts, we finally got settled and headed as close to the stage as we could.  We got darn close, too!  The opening band's opening band, Ministry of Loose, was rubbish.  Apologies to anyone who likes them, but dang.  Their appearance, their stage presence, and their music was at worst boring and at most rubbish.  The opening band, however, was Kaiser Chiefs, and they were good.  I like them.  But honestly, I couldn't be bothered-- I just wanted U know who!

Finally, finally, FINALLY it was time.  And it was worth the wait.  Not just the wait that night, but the 34 year wait.  Yes, this was my first U2 concert.  And, as long as they keep touring, it won't be my last.  A. Maze.  Ing.

Because pictures really are worth a thousand words, I'll just let me photos largely speak for themselves.  I'll only comment if it needs explanation. 

Paige's brand-new rock star shoes...

Where are we going?  Oh, yeah.  U2. 

Overlooking Croke Park... which is special to me for two reasons:  rugby, and U2. 

The view behind us, and then in front of us.  Oh yes.  The entire time.  My tippie-toes were killing me by the end of it.